PNG landslide: Thousands on standby for evacuation amid fears of new crisis

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People dig through mud and rocks today after a major landslide at Yambali
People dig through mud and rocks today after a major landslide in Yambali village in Enga province, Papua New Guinea, last Friday. Image: World Vision/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

Close to 8000 people have been told to be on standby for evacuation from a landslide-prone area in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Enga provincial disaster committee chairperson and provincial administrator Sandis Tsaka told RNZ Pacific some were already being evacuated, but that number was not clear.

As many people as possible — including those working in the recovery — were hoped to be evacuated by tomorrow, he said.

He had visited the disaster site twice and it was “very” dangerous.

More than 2000 people are thought to have been buried from Friday’s landslide — and rescue attempts have been hindered by the unstable terrain and lack of heavy machinery.

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid is starting to trickle in for survivors.

New Zealand has pledged practical and financial assistance worth $1.5 million.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said the precise nature of the assistance would be decided after discussions with the authorities in PNG.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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